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Wagner no longer a 'maybe,' now definitely running for U.S. House

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 17, 2011 - Ann Wagner has declared, as expected, that she's definitely running for the U.S. House's 2nd congressional district, which takes in GOP-leaning turf in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.

Wagner, former chair of the Missouri Republican Party and former ambassador to Luxembourg, earlier had announced that she had formed an exploratory committee to consider a bid.

She made her plans definite right after U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, announced that he is running for U.S. Senate and will not seek another term in the U.S. House. Over the winter, Wagner had considered running for the Senate seat now occupied by Democrat Claire McCaskill.

"Today I am making it official. I am a candidate for Congress from my hometown. I have been traveling the district and listening to the people in our district about the strong, effective, conservative leadership we need in the Congress," Wagner said in a statement ent out Tuesday afternoon. "The encouragement and enthusiasm I've received to run for Congress have been overwhelming.

"Like many families in our area, I am scared for the future of our country and our children and grandchildren. Our country, our families and our freedoms are being threatened by a failed leadership in Washington that is dragging us down a path of ruin. I've said, 'Enough is enough.' "

In her statement, Wagner said her chief focus will be on "job creation, economic growth, ending out-of-control spending and supporting a strong national defense."

She noted that more than 60,000 people in St. Louis and St. Charles counties are unemployed.

"The 2nd congressional district is the place where my husband Ray and I grew up, went to school, raised our children, work and go to church," Wagner said. "It is the community that has given me extraordinary opportunities to make a difference. And it is the place where I believe I can effectively represent with conservative leadership and values."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.